ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $15 million loan to support Mongolia’s efforts to continue strengthening food safety and animal and plant health standards to realize the country’s vast potential by increasing agri-food exports to neighboring countries.
“The country has an estimated 52 million head of livestock, which are a key source of employment and income for the rural population,” said Cristina Lozano, an ADB Regional Cooperation Specialist. “But gaps in sanitary and phytosanitary standards have limited the country’s ability to take advantage of demand for meat, milk, and other animal products from neighboring countries in Central Asia, as well as the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation.”
The government has significantly improved its sanitary and phytosanitary system over the past decade but challenges remain. Testing laboratories lack modern facilities, equipment and skilled personnel, and information technology is not widely used. As a result, food safety and animal and plant health measures are not well harmonized with international standards, hampering Mongolia’s export potential.
This project will help the Government of Mongolia continue developing internationally acceptable agri-food handling, inspection and testing measures that will allow it to boost exports and provide job and income opportunities in rural areas.
The project will target improvements in laboratories in three provinces served by the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) corridor which links border crossing points critical to the movement of agricultural and food products between the Russian Federation and East Asia. The improvements will include infrastructure and equipment upgrades, and the adoption of a laboratory information management system to manage samples and analysis. Assistance will be given to establish a sanitary and phytosanitary inspection management system that will incorporate risk-based import controls to automate risk assessement.
Support will also be given to align testing and sampling methodologies with World Trade Organization-compliant international standards to reduce inspection and testing-related delays, and to gain international acceptance.
The project will allow Mongolia to take the lead in promoting sanitary and phytosanitary reforms across the CAREC region. ADB has been supporting regional efforts to develop and align modern, uniform food safety and animal and plant health standards, through a separate regional technical assistance project.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.